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Friends again? Shiv Sena says won’t let anyone destabilise BJP govt in Maharashtra

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Mumbai: Hours after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar indicated the prospect of snap polls in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena on Tuesday rushed to support its estranged ally Bharatiya Janata Party.
In an important announcement, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said his party will not let anyone destabilise the BJP government in Maharashtra.

Raut cleared that Shiv Sena will not pose any threat to the BJP, indicating the two parties are likely to patch up soon.

Addressing a two-day party meeting which began today at Alibaug in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, NCP president Sharad Pawar today asked his party workers to be prepared for snap polls in Maharashtra considering the political situation after the recent state Assembly Elections.

For the first time in nearly three months, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray amidst protests by some Sena activists at Bal Thackeray’s memorial.

Fadnavis with over half a dozen of his cabinet ministers and several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders arrived at the Thackeray memorial in Shivaji Park and paid homage to the late Sena founder-patriarch.

He laid a wreath at the memorial, paid homage and then walked over to the small marquee where Uddhav sat since morning along with his family members.

As Uddhav stood up, Fadnavis greeted him, warmly shook hands and sat beside him. The duo – belonging to parties which were allies for 25 years before they split on September 25 – spoke for a few minutes before Fadnavis left.

Whie the chief minister and his ministerial colleagues paid homage and later met Uddhav, some Sena activists raised anti-BJP slogans and ranted “Fadnavis, go back”. They were largely ignored.

Notably, the Shiv Sena had last week rejected the vote of confidence won by the government in a voice vote without division of votes in the Maharashtra Assembly.

The BJP has 121 MLAs and has the support of an ally and nine independents as well as some smaller parties besides the ‘unconditional external support’ of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 41 MLAs.

Shiv Sena has 63 and Congress 42 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly.

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